Global business services: a game changer for the finance organisation?

This report discusses the implications of global business services for the finance function. It considers the extent to which GBS will significantly change the remit and nature of today’s finance organisation.


CFOs are constantly under pressure to re-evaluate their finance delivery models to meet business imperatives. Doing more with less, improving controls, supporting growth, gaining better insights – all these imperatives call into question the way in which finance departments are structured. Therefore, keeping abreast of the latest thinking is critical.

Many leading CFOs have adopted shared services or outsourcing models for ‘finance delivery’, which is generally defined as the rules-based transactional processes that underpin the finance function. However, today, there is a new ‘buzz word’ for business service delivery – global business services’ – or GBS. For finance, GBS represents a further evolution of the business services model, managing finance processes alongside processes of other enabling functions, such as human resources and IT.

GBS models have the ability to change fundamentally the way finance functions operate. They could change the basic principles of ownership and governance, further reduce cost and increase efficiency, and lead to new business insights. Alternatively, could moving finance to GBS be a distraction, or a step too far, for CFOs focused on transforming the finance function?

This report strives to answer some of the questions that thoughtful CFOs must address when exploring GBS as a model. The report has been developed with the support of ACCA’s finance transformation, shared services and outsourcing advisory group, and reflects the most up-to-date thinking about the implications of GBS models for the CFO and for the finance function.